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Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview

Here is the transcript of Vice President Cheney's interview tonight.

How did he do? My take: If only he'd come out the first day with this interview, it would have been a 15 minute story.

Some snippets:

Cheney: Well, ultimately, I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry. And you can talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but that's the bottom line. And there's no -- it was not Harry's fault. You can't blame anybody else. I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend. And I say that is something I'll never forget.

Question: Was anybody drinking in this party?

Cheney: No. You don't hunt with people who drink. That's not a good idea. We had --

Question: So he wasn't, and you weren't?

Cheney: Correct. We'd taken a break at lunch -- go down under an old -- ancient oak tree there on the place, and have a barbecue. I had a beer at lunch. After lunch we take a break, go back to ranch headquarters. Then we took about an hourlong tour of the ranch, with a ranch hand driving the vehicle, looking at game. We didn't go back into the field to hunt quail until about, oh, sometime after 3:00 p.m.

The five of us who were in that party were together all afternoon. Nobody was drinking, nobody was under the influence.

....Question: Had you discussed this with colleagues in the White House, with the president, and so on?

Cheney: I did not. The White House was notified, but I did not discuss it directly, myself. I talked to Andy Card, I guess it was Sunday morning.

Question: Not until Sunday morning? Was that the first conversation you'd had with anybody in the -- at the White House?

Question: Say that again?

Cheney: I said Karl has hunted at the Armstrong, as well, and we're both good friends of the Armstrongs and of Katharine Armstrong. And Katharine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement, that is that she'd put the story out. And I thought that made good sense for several reasons. First of all, she was an eyewitness. She'd seen the whole thing. Secondly, she'd grown up on the ranch, she'd hunted there all of her life. Third, she was the immediate past head of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the game control commission in the State of Texas, an acknowledged expert in all of this.

And she wanted to go to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, which is the local newspaper, covers that area, to reporters she knew. And I thought that made good sense because you can get as accurate a story as possible from somebody who knew and understood hunting. And then it would immediately go up to the wires and be posted on the Web site, which is the way it went out. And I thought that was the right call.

Question: What do you think now?

Cheney: Well, I still do. I still think that the accuracy was enormously important. I had no press person with me, I didn't have any press people with me. I was there on a private weekend with friends on a private ranch. In terms of who I would contact to have somebody who would understand what we're even talking about, the first person that we talked with at one point, when Katharine first called the desk to get hold of a reporter, didn't know the difference between a bullet and a shotgun -- a rifle bullet and a shotgun. And there are a lot of basic important parts of the story that required some degree of understanding. And so we were confident that Katharine was the right one, especially because she was an eyewitness and she could speak authoritatively on it. She probably knew better than I did what had happened, since I'd only seen one piece of it.

....The decision about how it got out, basically, was my responsibility.

Question: That was your call.

Cheney: That was my call.

Question: All the way.

Cheney: All the way. It was recommended to me -- Katharine Armstrong wanted to do it, as she said, and I concurred in that; I thought it made good sense.

Cheney: Yes.

Question: And did you discuss this with Karl Rove at any time, as has been reported?

Cheney: No, Karl talks to -- I don't recall talking to Karl. Karl did talk with Katharine Armstrong, who is a good mutual friend to both of us. Karl hunts at the Armstrong, as well --

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  • Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#1)
    by Sailor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 06:20:17 PM EST
    So, it only took 3 days for him to talk to his lawyers, talk to his PR folks, and issue a statement via faux news. Golly, Baba Wawa has harder lobs.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 06:38:11 PM EST
    Yeah, for an administration that doesn't care about polls but spends a record over 2 billion on PR, ya really think they'd be a lot better at it. Get a little more bang for our buck. On another note, thanks for your kind words, sailor. I'm trying to heed the call of the better Angels of my Nature this time around.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#3)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 07:00:35 PM EST
    Wouldn't Cheney have to have sobered up 1st (on the 1st day)? Way to many inconsistencies and holes in this as it is. I can only imagine the holes and inconsistencies if they had't waited a couple of days to get their stories straight.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#4)
    by Al on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 07:27:15 PM EST
    If his concern was that the "story" be told by someone who knows about hunting, why didn't he do it himself? And even accepting this premise, why then did it take Katherine Armstrong so long to tell the "story"? Why didn't she go to reporters right away? And why does Cheney keep referring to the "story"? And how can you possibly shoot a man at close range in the head and chest, accidentally? If this is the truth, why doesn't Cheney hold a press conference and accept questions? Like, "Can you describe how the shooting happened exactly?" Why do people need to do all the forensic math we're seeing? Why can't someone just ask Cheney how far away he was from his victim? And I don't buy for a second that Bush wasn't informed right away. All this whining that Cheney is so secretive is too convenient. I think we're seeing the result of a very well orchestrated cover-up, involving many people who had to get their stories totally straight. It will be very interesting to see if they can get away with it.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 07:29:47 PM EST
    Well, story is the operative word.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 07:31:39 PM EST
    I don't understand why the police weren't called.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#7)
    by ltgesq on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 07:58:13 PM EST
    there are too many versions floating around ot there already. armstrong has said there was beer there at lunch, then said no one was drinking at all. The dr.s said no comment on the "harry's" blood alchohol level, when if it was zero they would have said so. Ms. armstrong said she saw the whole thing, but her version of the event is drastically at odds with cheney's. this was not an accidental shooting the way they have laid it out. Accidental, yes. Reckless, definately. I have yet to find an accidental hunting injury with anything like the scenario they have laid out. No one gets shot in the face by someone facing you. Now the story is that Wittinham was behind a bush? Perhaps, but if that were the case, the doctors would be talking about debris being forced into the wounds by the shot. And, cheney described seeing the man fall but not before. he would have fallen either straight forward, or if the impact was great enough, flat on his back. From what i gathered the old guy was flat on his back and non responsive. This indicates to me the the force was sufficient to knock him off his feet, or knock him unconscious. It is impossible for this to happen at thirty yards using a 28 gauge. Also, Cheney saw him fall, but not before? what bush is thicker at the top than the base? There was some reckless drunken gun handling, and we have yet to hear the truth.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 07:59:51 PM EST
    Take your pick. Because dick cheney thinks he's above the law. Because alcohol in dick cheney's blood stream is no different than anyone Else's. It has to run its course and that takes time. Because dick cheney thinks the facts on the ground might not be helpful. Because dick cheney doesn't feel he has sufficient control of events on the ground. All of the above.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 08:26:57 PM EST
    You know, I lost interest in this site after the hostess insisted on posting links to a site that insults Jesus Christ. I came back for a look when I saw that Cheney accidentally shot someone. I wanted to see if there might be an ounce of decency from the folks here, even for a Republican supporter and the friend who almost killed him. What I saw was a lot of speculation that Cheney was drunk, or having an affair, or had planned the shooting. Someone else hoped they could watch him burn next to the body of his wife, and one individual prayed that the victim of the accident would die and Cheney would be charged. And a lot of criticism for a man who had just been through a fairly traumatic experience for not playing it well with the news media. To be fair, a few people restrained themselves merely to theorizing that Cheney was lying about his estimated distance from the victim. Based entirely, I might add, on pellet-counts that varied from minute to minute. I hope you lot are as sick of your behavior as are those of us on the other side of the spectrum. How about saying a prayer for the wounded man rather than scurrying around looking for treachery?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#10)
    by ding7777 on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 08:30:27 PM EST
    Where's Harry's family? Doesn't the press usually interview the victim's family? If the family says no comment - the press could print that. Why the wall of silence?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#11)
    by Sailor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 08:38:30 PM EST
    You know, I lost interest in this site after the hostess insisted on posting links to a site that insults Jesus Christ.
    Hey, if I post links to a site that 'insults' jesu christo will you go away again?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:44:57 PM EST
    Grad student:
    You know, I lost interest in this site after the hostess insisted on posting links to a site that insults Jesus Christ.
    If you are really a grad student as your name claims, you should possess better critical faculties than you seem to. First it is literally impossible (and I mean literally -- that is, not metaphorically, or indirectly, or in any other way that requires an act of inference on the part of the person perceiving the insult) to actually insult Jesus Christ. He is not here in the physical world to be the recipient of the insult, nor (if you believe him to be present in spirit) would His spirit be offended by anything that any human has to say, since (in the view of Christians) He came here to redeem humans from their state of sin, and for humans in that state, blasphemous comments are to be expected. If they were not, there would be no need for salvation, right? So it seems to me that you are making the mistake of classifying comments that mock the behavior and statements of certain people who claim to be Christian, with actual mocking of Jesus himself -- which, as I understand the Bible, took place during his life on Earth. Now let me tell you, I find the opinions and statements of certain so-called Christians, most of whom align themselves with right-wing political positions, to be so far from my own understanding of what the Bible tells us of the teachings of Jesus (if you don't know what I mean, just read the Sermon on the Mount), that they deserve to be mocked for being such shams. And while you may not be comfortable with opinions that differ from your own, and while you may be uncomfortable with people who criticize the opinions of certain religious denominations or factions, you surely must admit that the USA was founded (at least in part) by people who came here from Europe because of being persecuted for holding particular religious opinions. That is why they created a constitution that carefully protected freedom of speech and required the state not to either endorse a particular religious opinion nor prevent the free expression of such opinions. So before you trot out your glib criticisms of this site, you should first think carefully about the basis for your criticism. That is, if you are really a grad student who can think critically. Of couse, if you still don't like what you read here, then don't read it, and don't come back. That is entirely your own choice. But we don't need you to keep coming back to tell us that we should not be expressing our opinions. Sympathy for the victim, and prayers for his safe recovery -- which I can assure you we all feel and desire respectively -- do not diminish the need for truth on Cheney's part, nor our rights to use our freedom of speech to question whether we are being told the whole truth.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#13)
    by Al on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 10:46:57 PM EST
    Another thing that really makes my blood boil after reading the entire transcript is that the jerk not have a single expression of remorse throughout. It's all about him and how he feels: "The worst day of my life" (yeah, it was a pretty bad day for the guy with his head full of lead, too), how it was a relief for him when he learned that "his friend" (whom he first described merely as an acquaintance) was on the mend. Not once does he say "I'm sorry I shot him". Merely saying "I pulled the trigger" means nothing; we all know he pulled the trigger, no news there. How about "I'm sorry"? Some troll up there defies Cheney's critics to say prayers for the victim; I'm not hearing anything about Cheney saying prayers, and he shot the man. He seems mostly relieved that Whittington said that he didn't want to cause him problems.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#14)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:27:41 PM EST
    They give graduate degrees at barber college? I did not know that.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:33:47 PM EST
    "They didn't like the idea that we called The Corpus Christi Caller-Times instead of The New York Times," Mr. Cheney said. "But it strikes me that The Corpus Christi Caller-Times is just as valid a news outlet as The New York Times is, especially for covering a major story That's what this is, a war against the NYT for the NSA leak, and a warning by the WH that all the press is unimportant. They are trying to undermine the media. This is the "good cop/bad cop" routine. There is no split between Cheney and the WH. I knew they were up to something.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#16)
    by Steven Sanderson on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 01:16:08 AM EST
    There's one way that a close-range shooting like this may have happened that I haven't seen mentioned. The Cheney party drove from spot-to-spot while hunting. Getting in and out of vehicles with loaded firearms is dangerous and runs contrary to hunting safety practices. Did Cheney unload/load his shotgun each and every time he entered/exited a vehicle? I assume that the hunting party was driving large suv's. If Cheney was on one side of a suv, either putting his shotgun into the vehicle or pulling it out, and Whittington was on the other when the shooting occured that would seem to be the right distance to create the tight shot pattern I've seen described.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 09:35:11 AM EST
    Just curious, does Brit Hume ask Cheney if he is wearing panties in the interview? Does he ask him whether or not he has ever seen a grown man naked?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 09:37:13 AM EST
    Why is a guy with 3 duis drinking? Ever? Seems to me that part of most dui's is supervision which requires mandatory 12 step attendance, or does dick have a handle on his drinking, just forgets about the driving and shooting things?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#19)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 09:47:55 AM EST
    Jl, just for clarity's sake, The (ironically named) Smoking Gun says Cheney got 2 DUI's over 4 decades ago. Do you have different info?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 09:52:45 AM EST
    For somebody who seems to enjoy firing weapons...why did he take 5 deferments?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 09:53:39 AM EST
    It must be that the Viet Cong shot back...and quayle cannot. Coward.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 09:56:11 AM EST
    SU - As far as I know he had 2 in Wyoming, the third is from my bad memory, which means I would believe smokinggun before me. Thanks for the correction. Although 2 duis according to most states signifies alcohol dependency, which recommend cessation of drinking forever. Of course, nothing to worry about now, he mostly has a driver and only occasionally shoots someone.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 09:57:39 AM EST
    SU - I am still curious, did Hume ask Cheney if he could kiss him on the mouth?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#24)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 10:00:13 AM EST
    Fair enough Jl. I, literally, shudder to think how many times I drove drunk while in HS/college. The stupid stuff I did, it scares the crap out of me to think my kids might do the same in a dozen years or so...

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 10:21:34 AM EST
    SU - Hopefully your kids and mine do not have that "stupid" recessive gene that told us we were ok to drive. Don't get me wrong here,I still feel bad for cheney because I believe it was an accident, just think it was majorly stupid to wait until the next day. This will not win me many friends on the left here but I do respect Cheneys long term public service albeit I hate his politics. I could never serve in a public office, too much bs for me, and anyone that dedicates their life to it is at least owed some respect. And I don't think it is just B

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 10:21:35 AM EST
    SU - Hopefully your kids and mine do not have that "stupid" recessive gene that told us we were ok to drive. Don't get me wrong here,I still feel bad for cheney because I believe it was an accident, just think it was majorly stupid to wait until the next day. This will not win me many friends on the left here but I do respect Cheneys long term public service albeit I hate his politics. I could never serve in a public office, too much bs for me, and anyone that dedicates their life to it is at least owed some respect. And I don't think it is just B

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 10:22:17 AM EST
    SU - Hopefully your kids and mine do not have that "stupid" recessive gene that told us we were ok to drive. Don't get me wrong here,I still feel bad for cheney because I believe it was an accident, just think it was majorly stupid to wait until the next day. This will not win me many friends on the left here but I do respect Cheneys long term public service albeit I hate his politics. I could never serve in a public office, too much bs for me, and anyone that dedicates their life to it is at least owed some respect. And I don't think it is just Brit Hume that sucks up, EVERY major news station sucks up, how else can they get the interviews??

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 10:26:09 AM EST
    I agree w/you Jl, all 3 times!

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 10:36:27 AM EST
    LOL, sorry SU - my post finger was on fire.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 11:15:07 AM EST
    but I do respect Cheneys long term public service
    JL...has he really served the public? He had a chance to serve..he defered. Personally, I think he has served himself...like 99% of our politicians.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 11:16:00 AM EST
    I too believe it was an accident...but even accidents have consequences.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 12:23:07 PM EST
    Lots of folks took deferments, it is unfortunate that he is so quick to send young americans to war, I will give ya that, but lots of people took em. It is funny, Bush I pulled our troops out of Iraq because he was a veteran who served and did not like placing our troops in harms way any longer than necessary. He was called a wimp for doing so. Those who served are less likely to be gung ho about a sending people off to that hell. Too bad Geo and Dick did not serve. (Bush did not serve, he showed up to Nat'l guard and got drunk a lot during a war, that ain't serving)

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 01:25:05 PM EST
    Fair enough JL...many did take deferments. Cheney has said this was the worst day of his life. Imagine if he went to Vietnam...then he would really know what a "bad day" is like.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#34)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 01:49:36 PM EST
    Bob Jones has grad programs now. This was probobly already covered, but isnt Cheney on some kind of heart med; and how does that mix with alchohol?

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#35)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 01:52:13 PM EST
    Oops. I just read where that was covered.

    Re: Transcript of Dick Cheney's Interview (none / 0) (#36)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 02:24:46 PM EST
    Sorry--I meant to post this link in this entry thread not the earlier one:] The Office of the Vice President: Speeches & News Releases also posts the transcript of the FOX interview with Brit Hume and texts of the Vice President's earlier statements.